What is IBS?
IBS known as irritable bowel syndrome is described as a condition that affects the digestive system, with common symptoms reported as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, stomach cramps, and other digestive complaints. Although IBS is a condition that affects a huge proportion of the population in some shape or form, the medical world has up to now, not been able to find a cure. Interestingly, IBS is so different for everyone, it has a collective term and description yet the symptoms that present in each individual can vary from patient to patient.
How is IBS treated?
The individuality of the disorder has meant that treating IBS is difficult, GP’s commonly recommend the following advice: taking time to relax, trying to find out if there are particular foods that cause an IBS flare, not skipping meals, not eating quickly, avoiding alcohol and fizzy drinks, using peppermint to soothe the digestive system. However, none of this advice often gets to the root cause of the IBS, and therefore suffers often talk of few improvements.
Is it time to take a different approach to treat IBS?
Long-term sufferers of IBS often experience feelings of sadness, depression, frustration, hopelessness, and anxiety to name a few as the impact of the condition can really have a profound impact on their lives. IBS sufferers often report countless visits to their Doctor/ GP over several years, expressing this discomfort and not really getting the support they need in treating or curing their IBS.
And with few advances in the medical world for the treatment of IBS, it has become no surprise that alternative and holistic approaches to the treatment of IBS have recently been explored.
The role of Hypnotherapy & Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Hypnotherapy is a complementary therapy used to treat IBS because we know that there is an incredible connection between the brain and the gut!
You might know the saying:
“The gut is the seat of all emotion…”
“I just can’t stomach this…”
“I have a gut feeling…”
From a very young age, we tend to learn to suppress emotions with logic. ‘You don’t need to be afraid of the dark. You know there’s nothing there so now go to sleep. Don’t scream and shout, go to your room and only come back once you have cooled off.’
But our emotions cannot be reasoned away just like that.
We know that, as we just cannot think straight when our belly hurts.
Or when we can’t eat if we are too stressed or excited. Our body shows us that emotion is way more impactful on our state of being than logic!
So, in order to change that state, the emotions need to be addressed and released first. And if the gut is your pain point, the most important question is: what emotional belief got stuck?
During a hypnotherapy session, we need to work out where, how, and when your IBS When you’re in a deeply relaxed state during your hypnotherapy session we can uncover this.
Then it’s all about replacing these old beliefs with new beliefs and new meanings and repeating this new belief over and over until it becomes embedded in the subconscious. It’s making the unfamiliar become familiar.
I want to share with you, a short story of one of my clients who suffered from IBS for years.
In her session, she revealed that in her teenage years she became ashamed of her body which then evolved into hate. She had a very negative dialogue with her body that was on repeat. She would get frustrated that her body was presenting with IBS symptoms and that her stomach was causing her pain, which only further deepened the hate that she was experiencing.
I focused on turning this around during her session and helped her see how her body is her best friend, I helped her see that her body wants to be healthy, it wants to be in perfect thriving health and balance. So how can it be that it’s not functioning when diseases or genetic conditions have been ruled out? Well, you must look deeper and look at the words and images you are telling yourself on a daily basis.
During the session, I got her to have a conversation with her body, her body started to talk to her, and she told her body that was sorry and that she knew it wasn’t her body's fault.
She experienced a big switch and her perspective and her relationship with her body changed.
She told me she no longer has that harsh view of her body, she could not hate her body back into health, as it’s just not going to work. It was fantastic to see this change in my client and support her with the management and treatment of her IBS.
As well as the mindset approach, I normally recommend clients work alongside a nutritionist to help heal their gut from a practical point of view. If someone has been suffering for a long time, under stress, and experiencing poor digestion, the body can become deficient in important nutrients, which in turn could exacerbate IBS symptoms. I’ve recently recorded a great interview with Koosje Janssen, and we discuss all things IBS management. Crucially Koosje, also believes that it’s more than just fighting the symptoms but looking at the wider picture.
You can see the full interview here
If you are a long-term sufferer of IBS or want to try and nip it in the bud before it has a huge impact on your life, get in touch with me today, to discuss how hypnotherapy could support you in treating your IBS.